Elk NetworkElk Rut-Related Closures, Warnings Issued

General | September 9, 2022

The elk mating season is underway, so national park officials issued warnings and closures to prevent disturbance and harassment of elk during their fall mating period and to enhance elk viewing opportunities.

Rocky Mountain National Park put annual closures in place for travel on foot or horse off established roadways or designated trails from 5 p.m. to 10 a.m. In 2020, the closure time extended to 10 a.m. from 7 a.m. due to a significant increase in visitors approaching elk when the morning meadow closures lifted. These closures last through October 31 and are effective in Horseshoe Park, Upper Beaver Meadows, Moraine Park, Harbison Meadow and Holzwarth Meadow in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Fishing in the Fall River, Thompson River or Colorado River within the posted areas are the same as previous years and are closed from 5 p.m. to 7 a.m.

Elk calling and the use of spotlights or vehicle headlights for spotting wildlife is still prohibited in Rocky Mountain National Park.

Officials in Yellowstone National Park urged visitors to keep a distance of at least two bus lengths (25 yards) from elk, although the further away, the better. There are many past incidents of people getting too close to elk or bison, which led to injuries.

As always, park officials remind visitors that they are responsible for their own safety.

(Photo credit: NPS/Jacob W. Frank)